SaaS Marketing Part 5 – Preventing the Churn.
The gold at the end of the rainbow isn’t the sale, but the years of loyalty you get from each customer. Customer Lifetime Value. That ongoing revenue doesn’t come easily.
Solving issues with Churn is critical: It costs 5x more to get new customers than it does to keep the ones you have. [Forrester, 2016]
There must be a process to learn from and respond to your customers. Technology and consumer behavior is constantly changing, as are the needs of your users. The ultimate goal is to build customer relationships and help them succeed. It’s the “eat right and exercise” client service diet that isn’t the most fun part of running a company, but in the end, it could save its life.
Create a formal feedback loop to uncover problems quickly.
We say “formal” because it must be made a priority in the customer service process and be given more attention than a simple (and generally ineffective) exit survey. It requires ongoing communication with existing customers. That means phone calls from sales reps, in-app messaging, feedback bar on the website, social media and email.
Determine which user segment is most likely to leave (or is the most profitable).
This info isn’t always available, but when it is, it enables a clear strategy to serve user relevant content or experiences that can positively affect their experience. Keep in mind these efforts aren’t always cheap. It’s vital that the value of users who might defect isn’t less than the efforts it will take to retain them. Consider:
- The churn probability of each user.
- The predicted revenue of each user.
- The likelihood of being affected by content or incentives.
- The cost of the content or incentives.
Once you know who to target, some options include:
- Offer incentives that don’t significantly reduce profits
- Create content that educates the target on important features that could add value to their experience.
- Create a VIP customer service team for the most valuable customers.
- Target users with communications or ads that promote your differentiation from competitors.
Know your strengths and be honest about your weaknesses.
The impact of this knowledge is comparing your strengths and weaknesses to competitors and adding value wherever it can widen the gap. When that gap is wide enough to be compelling, a well-targeted ad campaign is ripe for success.
Understanding weaknesses is key in understanding who your ideal customer is. As we’ve discuss in past articles, maximizing profits relies on knowing what type of user will offer the greatest lifetime value. Understanding which audience segments are looking for features that are not a product strength could greatly reduce your cost of acquisition and help maintain a high average CLV (customer lifetime value).
Know when to say sorry.
Sometimes something happens that puts your product in a bad light. Sometimes they are predictable (see Netflix price increases), but many times, they are not (see almost any airline). In these cases, there is no way out but to be real with your customers and tell them you were wrong, and importantly, make a visibly Herculean effort to correct it. When done right, and done memorably, it can not only prevent ongoing concern, but strength the authenticity of your brand.
This mindset is just as important when dealing with individual customers. Death by a thousand cuts is a horrible way for a company to die, and if your customer service can’t handle being both honest and helpful, it’s an easy way too.
Keep up with the industry.
It seems obvious, but most people are too busy with their own jobs to give as much attention as they want to staying ahead of the curve. That’s where you come in. Not only does it allow you to out-innovate your competitors, but it provides a very good path to being indispensable to your customers. As long as your not shoving a sales pitch into every piece of content you create, helping your customers do their job – even when they aren’t using your product – is a pretty compelling reason to keep using it.
- Customer satisfaction.
- Customer lifetime value.
- Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC).
- Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR).
- Lead Velocity.
Read all the articles in this series:
John Armstrong, Account Director
Need help marketing your SaaS product or service? We work with companies of all sizes, from the Seed stage through maturity. Contact us to learn more.